Although flapping his gums and calling Saudis “scary motherfuckers” in February nearly caused Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to pull the plug on LIV Golf before it teed off per a recent New Yorker article, Phil Mickelson has not stopped talking since joining the upstart series and continues to extoll the virtues of the circuit where he has finished no better than tied for eighth place through six events. (His other finishes: 17th, 34th, 35th, 40th and 42nd.)
A more outspoken LIV defector than Dustin Johnson (who has actually been winning and has reason to crow after banking $30 million in prize money), Mickelson recently took some major shots at the PGA Tour by saying his former circuit is “trending downwards” and that golfers need to pick a side between the PGA and LIV.
“You have to pick what side do you think is going to be successful, and I firmly believe that I’m on the winning side of how things are going to evolve and shape in the coming years for professional golf,” he said. “I see LIV Golf trending upwards, I see the PGA Tour trending downwards and I love the side that I’m on.”
Rory McIlroy, who has been one of the PGA Tour’s staunchest defenders after initially calling for peace talks with LIV, continued the war of words between the rival circuits by directly addressing Mickelson’s comments ahead of this week’s CJ Cup at Congaree Golf Club and dismissing them as “propaganda.”
“I don’t agree with what Phil said last week,” McIlroy said. “I understand why he said it because of the position he is in, but I don’t think anyone that takes a logical view of the game of golf can agree with what he said. I think there’s a ton of propaganda being used and all sorts of stuff. I certainly don’t see the PGA Tour trending downward at all. All the talent, 95% of the talent is here.”
The Official World Golf Ranking would undoubtedly agree as LIV Golf currently only has a single player, Australian Cameron Smith, ranked within the top 20.
John Rahm, ranked No. 5 in the OWGR, also teed off on Mickelson, with whom he is friendly. “Man, I love Phil, but I don’t know what he’s talking about,” Rahm said. “I really don’t know why he said that. I think there’s some great changes being made and great changes for the players on the Tour. I truly don’t know what drove him to say something like that.”
Here’s a guess: bags and bags of money that he can use to help support his rumored gambling habit.